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Relative Clause

This is a clause that generally modifies a noun or a noun phrase and is often introduced by a relative pronoun (which, that, who, whom, whose). A relative clause connects ideas by using pronouns that relate to something previously mentioned and allows the writer to combine two independent clauses into one sentence. A relative clause is also known as an adjective clause. There are two types of relative clauses: restrictive and nonrestrictive.
Here are a few examples:

  • The book that she read was important for her literature review. (restrictive)

  • The participants who were interviewed volunteered to be part of the study. (restrictive)

  • Walden University, which is entirely online, has main administrative offices in Baltimore and Minneapolis. (nonrestrictive)

Restrictive Clause

A restrictive clause restricts or defines the meaning of a noun or noun phrase and provides necessary information about the noun in the sentence. It is not separated from the rest of the sentence by commas. Restrictive clauses are more common in writing than nonrestrictive clauses. A restrictive clause is also sometimes referred to as an essential clause or phrase.
Here are a few examples:

  • The student who sits in the back of the room asks a lot of questions.

  • The results that I obtained may invoke positive social change.

  • The journalist whose story I read yesterday has won prizes for her work.

When the relative pronoun functions as the object of the sentence, it can (and usually is) omitted from the relative clause.
Here are a few examples:

  • The results that I obtained may invoke positive social change.

  • The article that I requested did not arrive on time.

  • The participants who I interviewed met me at the local library.

Relative clauses are non-essential parts of a sentence. They may add meaning, but if they are removed, the sentence will still function grammatically. There are two broad types of relative clauses in English. It is important to distinguish between them because it affects the choice of pronoun used to introduce the clause. There is a more detailed page about

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